Culture 3 min read

Facebook Bans Medical Face Mask Listings and Advertisements

ToKa74 /

ToKa74 /

Last week, Facebook announced that it would be banning all medical face mask ads and listings on Instagram and Facebook Marketplace. The move was part of the company’s efforts to prevent people from exploiting the public’s growing concern over the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a post on Twitter, Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern, said:

“We’re banning ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks. We’re monitoring COVID19 closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency. We’ll start rolling out this change in the days ahead.”

In a separate tweet, Adam Moserri, the current Instagram head, said:

“We’re banning ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks on Instagram and Facebook. Supplies are short, prices are up, and we’re against people exploiting this public health emergency. We’ll start rolling this out over the next few days.”

Medical Face Mask Listings Still Litters Facebook

While there’s no definite date on when the temporary ban will start taking effect, a quick search on Facebook Marketplace shows glaring medical face mask listings.

Face mask listing on Facebook
Medical face mask listing on Facebook
Medical face mask listing on Facebook
Medical face mask listing on Facebook

According to Facebook, they’ll have a dedicated channel where local governments could share listings they believe violate local laws.

“We already prohibit people from making health or medical claims related to the coronavirus in product listings on commerce surfaces, including those listings that guarantee a product will prevent someone from contracting it. We also have a dedicated channel for local governments to share listings they believe violate local laws.”

Global Shortage of Face Mask

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a massive spike in face mask demand across the world. With the presence of the dreaded coronavirus now reported in 100 countries, manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the demand.

Some countries like the United States, Germany, and South Korea have been stockpiling and have banned the export of medical mask supplies. In a statementMichael Einhorn, the founder of New York-based Dealmed-Park Surgical, said:

“We’re having to make tough decisions every day on who gets masks and who doesn’t. Do masks go to the suburban hospital or the 911 responders? It’s a huge responsibility, and we know we’re going to make some mistakes.”

Despite the global appeal for people to stop hoarding masks, the panic caused by the rapid spread of COVID-19 only worsened the situation. However, greed also plays a crucial role in the diminishing global supply of face masks.

Some suppliers are cashing in on people’s paranoia by selling face masks at unreasonably high prices. These listings are commonly seen on many Buy and Sell forums, Facebook groups, and the Facebook Marketplace.

Hopefully, the change in Facebook’s initiative would help stop the illegal selling of these hoarded medical masks.

Read More: COVID-19 Concerns: How To Handle Event Cancellations

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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